This weekend marks 18 years of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan—one that has transformed the landscape of women’s lives in the region. Ms. has been consistently covering the fight for Afghan women’s rights, and amplifying the voices of women fighting for equality there on the frontlines. Here are some of the highlights.
They fled violent husbands, hid in secret shelters, got divorces and started working—and now these women are the most at risk as the threat of U.S. withdrawal looms in Afghanistan.
“Taliban don’t want us to come. But we are stronger than them.”
“I decided to show my children that it is our responsibility to vote, especially as women—it’s a big chance, a big event in our lives.”
Afghan women have been demanding to be included in peace negotiations with the U.S. since they began. We should have listened to them.
“No one has suffered more at the hands of the Taliban than the women of Afghanistan,” Melanne Verveer—executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and a former U.S. ambassador for Global Women’s Issues—explains in a new op-ed in USA Today.
Despite signing the bipartisan Women, Peace, and Security Act to “increase women’s participation in negotiation and mediation processes”—by the looks of Trump’s Monday meeting with leaders from Pakistan, it seems he has completely ignored an act he himself signed into law.
“People say the U.S. Congress is dysfunctional,” Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation president and publisher of Ms., points out, “but not for a moment would we think of turning over the country to terrorists—and neither would the Afghans.”
In spite of the Taliban, Afghanistan is a picture of progress—though not perfection.
“Inclusivity means real representation: not just elites getting a seat at the table. Being at the table is a means, not the end.”
In January 2018, a BBC article declared that the Taliban had full control of 4 percent of Afghanistan’s territory and an active presence in another 66 percent of the country. Researchers at Feminist Majority Foundation, dubious of the BBC map and other similar public accounts based on territorial analysis, decided to do a study using population data.